a collaborative planning space
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18 April 2019

City Game on Urban Agriculture


Dr. Prof. Dr. Nida Naycı (MEU Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture Assoc. Prof.) Dr. Ekim Tan (Play The City) Willem Velthoven (Mediamatic)


H. Betül Levent Erdal (Mezitli Municipality, city planner; project developer)

Semih Temizkan (Chamber of Architects) Yasmina Lokmanoğlu (Mersin City Council)

Dr. H.Oya Saf (Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, MEU) Dr. Prof. Dr. Mutlu Yalvaç (MEU Department of Environmental Engineering) Esin Erkoç (Tarsus Food Culture AGD) Cemile Cındız (Icel College, Teacher) Gökçen Özdemir (Toroslar Municipality) Nermin Özdemir (Toroslar Municipality) Cem Işık (Toroslar Municipality)Fatih Demircioğlu (MESKI)

Halil Yaman Students of MEU Architectural Design Club Icel college students

Game Process

Before the game session begins Nida Naycı informed participants about the workshops organized to improve Mersin City Laboratory and the final situation assessment was made. In addition, a presentation was made on the sustainability of urban agriculture and cyclic food acquisition in the cities of the future which could be an input to the urban agriculture game. In addition, Willem Velthoven talked about sustainable aquaculture studies at Mediamatic as an international network center aiming to stimulate senses and perceptions using art, design and science, and gave information about the aquaponic system, one of the examples of soilless agriculture to be experienced in the workshop.

Game session aimed to create a discussion environment about the likelihood of food-oriented growth in Mersin and to make sustainable suggestions in this direction. As a first step, the comments were made on specific topics in the map of Mersin and surrounding districts regarding the initiatives that ensure the circularity of production:

Agricultural production areas within the city

Esenbağlar, Tece, Kaleköy, Kazanlı, Karaisalı, Çavak, Çevlik, Sarıibrahimli, North of Müftü Creek, Bekirde, Demirhisar

Transfer points

Mezitli Women's Market, Yenişehir Peasant Market, Akbelen Road, Toroslar Municipality Peasant Market, Üniversite Street, Kaleköy Market, Kuyuluk Street

Production areas using technology

Kazanlı (hydroponic agriculture)

Fish production areas

Yeşilovacık (female fishermen), Karaduvar

Cultural-historical markets

Butcher's Bazaar, Victory Bazaar, Fish Market, Little Bazaar

Festival Areas

Central Stone building, Soli festival, CNR (agriculture and food fair), Kazanlı (pepper expo)

Local and safe food produced in the surrounding districts are the only point of sale in Mersin (Gattini). Based on this information, it was discussed whether people should travel to food or whether food should be brought to people. Considering the harm to the environment in terms of carbon footprint of people going to producer districts to reach local food, increasing the number of local food sales points and suggesting sales from the internet was introduced. In addition, it was stated that ’slow food’ activity could be organized in order to promote local food and promote economic sustainability by improving gastronomic tourism in the city. It was suggested that the organic food market could be established at certain time intervals in front of the town hall.

City planner H. Betül Levent Erdal from Mezitli Municipality stated that they will work with the participatory methods to encourage the public to use these separation methods in the houses as well as the compost systems they have established with the wet garbage obtained from the parks and gardens. In addition, establishments such as soup kitchen, cafes and restaurants have been proposed to develop a system in which they can produce their own food by creating a garden. In addition to this, it is necessary to develop tools that can provide information exchange with the children through the fields to be established in the gardens of the schools and the field to school programs; As an example of the forest school, it was stated that organic farming was done in the Ahmetli School in Mersin. The hobby gardens created by Mezitli Municipality can be applied in other municipalities with the aim of getting active age and obtaining organic products. Composting systems will be established on-site in large scale marketplaces, parks and gardens could be started and the awareness would be made in order to use separation methods in households.

Considering the ban on seeds in the country, alternative paths that can ensure the continuity of production have been explored during the interactive session. Seed exchange between the Mezitli municipality and farmers was mentioned as an inspiring action that  support the continuity of agricultural production. With this method, it was thought that the ‘Seed Exchange Festival’ could be considered as an application to support agricultural production.

In line with the aforementioned recommendations, small scale initiatives that can provide education, food production and consumption balance, food waste assessment were considered as headings to support food-oriented growth. When the population of Mersin is considered, it is added that conventional agriculture cannot be abandoned along with methods to support sustainable food-oriented growth.

After discussing the activities to create sustainable urban agriculture and cyclic food on a large scale in Mersin, we discussed the attempts to balance rural and urban life in and around Müftü Creek. As a result of the surveys in the field, the expectations and lifestyle of the activists and households were considered as a positive input for the discussion. Consequently create a hybrid living environment where rural and urban life can continue along the Muftu was embraced.

Considering that the creek is used as the only way the fauna can progress, alternative axles can be proposed; It was aimed to develop a hybrid model for the people (business, social activities) who want to move away from the city life but have to spend their daily life in the city (business, social activities) together. Instead of evaluating rural and urban life separately, it was stated that transition areas where these living environments intersect can be created. When the socio-economic and cultural structure is taken as a reference in the urban transformation, a sustainable neighborhood renewal is proposed for the population compatible with rural life in and around Müftü Creek.